Well it's that time of year, Christmas break. We have lots of sitting around time in store with the combination of lack of snow to go sledding and fort building as well as Mother Nature freezing us out with -30 celsius degree weather for awhile after Christmas. So that means most of us will be indoors looking for things to do and nothing beats a Christmas movie. Here are my favourites;
NATIONAL LAMPOON'S CHRISTMAS VACATION
In my unprofessional movie review opinion, this is the best Christmas movie of all time. It resonates with so many people because every dad can relate to Clark Griswald wanting to provide the best possible Christmas experience to his family. Clark was just over the top and had some bad luck come his way. There are too many great moments in this movie to mention them all but Clark finally getting his lights to turn on after the struggle to get them up, the extended families arriving at the same time and the snow saucer scenes are some of the best. Let's not forget cousin Eddie, Catherine, Ruby Sue, Rocky and Snotz. Anyone who has travelled to stay with family for Christmas or has hosted family for Christmas can surely find something related in this movie.
This 1988 action film has easily become the people's favourite non-Christmas, Christmas movie of all time. It is one of the best action movies of all time. and having Christmas running in the background of the movie plot is terrific. Die Hard doesn't need Christmas for the movie to be great, but the fact that John McClane travels across the country from New York to Los Angeles to be with his family for Christmas before ending up battling terrorists makes it all the better. John McClane (Bruce Willis) is an ordinary dude who gets as much as he deals and Alan Rickman's portrayal of Hans Gruber makes the terrorist one of the best bad guys in movie history. "Yippee-ki-yay, m----------r" turns out to be just as festive as "Now I have a machine gun. Ho-Ho-Ho".
Will Ferrell is a comedic genius. Taking the concept of a human raised by elves at the north pole travelling back to New York to find his family over Christmas is the type of role that solidifies Ferrell as a funny man and his previous roles in Old School and on Saturday Night Live made the story work well. Underneath of the chugging of two litres of Coca-Cola or snow ball fight insanity to the special syrup in the mail room coffee, is a nice little story about a family coming together in the spirit of Christmas to make you feel all those warm feels. But Elf is more about the absurd comedy of Ferrell, but not going too absurd to be funny. Just the right about of absurd like buying your long lost father lingerie because he is someone special or answer other people's phone calls with "Buddy the Elf. What's your favourite colour?"
When I was a kid Kevin McCallister was an icon. He was an eight year old surviving by himself in his house, doing cool things, while setting traps for would be burglars all in the spirit of Christmas. "Merry Christmas ya filthy animal" has become a pop culture Christmas staple these days with a massive resurgence as my generation is in need of social media memes and ugly Christmas sweater/shirt designs. This movie still has an effect on kids these days. My ten year old nephew was setting traps, although not as elaborate as Kevin's, around the house before Christmas this year. There is a touching story of a mother doing all she can to get to her son for Christmas, although she originally left him alone so....lets call it a wash at best. The movie seems slightly unrealistic as you age and grow more mature, but when you were 8-12 years old, Home Alone was awesome!!!
THE NIGHT BEFORE
The most recent addition to my Christmas movie list is The Night Before. I like Seth Rogen, he seems like he would be a cool and normal guy to hang out with. While not a stoner myself, I enjoy his average guy comedy and The Night Before is no different. The story follows Rogen, Anthony Mackie (Falcon from the Avengers) and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Inception, The Dark Knight Rises) on their last fun Christmas night out adventure. It all starts with the trio partying on Christmas after Gordon-Levitt's character having his parents die and without family his best friends decide to take him out every year at Christmas. As they become older and more career/family oriented they start to feel more pathetic about still doing this so agree this is the last year. I think a lot of people can relate to this scenario, maybe minus the drugs and massive hidden night club party with Miley Cyrus, as coming home for Christmas often meant partying with friends at one point. But then as life takes over, the fun times with friends get more and more limited. This movie tackles this issue.
A dark comedy about a despicable thief who dresses like Santa to rob shopping malls. It is rude and crude with Billy Bob Thornton perfecting the alcoholic jerk role and Tony Cox doing a tremendous job as the accomplice. Santa is foul mouthed and doesn't like kids, but struggles through the role of mall Santa for the big pay off of a job once the mall closes. This was actually John Ritter's last movie role as he plays the mall manger who gets his head of security, the late Bernie Mac, to keep an eye on Santa. There is a nice little story, kind of, about Santa helping a kid who is named Thurman Merman, to enjoy the Christmas season and shows that Santa isn't complete bad. It is an incredibly funny, but crude so don't let the kids watch, take on Santa and Christmas. After watching Bad Santa you can't help but think of what mall Santa's really go through on a daily basis during the holiday season.
Some honourable mentions for good Christmas movies are Die Hard 2, Just Friends, Why Him?, Lethal Weapon and Office Christmas Party. In full disclosure I have never watched Christmas movies like How the Grinch Stole Christmas, It's A Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story, Miracle on 34th Street and Love Actually. I am sure they are great, I've seen them on a lot of Christmas movie lists and maybe one day I will get to them.
SEINFELD | The Strike from season nine
First off, Festivus. If there is one fake event that I had to put money no becoming the next real event/holiday, it would be Festivus. The Festivus holiday on Seinfeld was created by Frank Constanza, George's dad, as an alternative to the commercialization of Christmas. The holiday is on December 23 and contains a Festivus meal with family and friends, an undecorated aluminum pole as opposed to a Christmas tree (tinsel is distracting), the airing of grievances, the feats of strength and acknowledging normal occurrences as Festivus miracles. Festivus is wildly popular these days with social media blowing up every December 23 as people recognize the day and take the opportunity to wish others a festivus for the rest of us or air some grievances that have been building. We can all relate to the pressures that Christmas brings, the commercialization of Christmas (decorations are available before Halloween these days) and frustrations with people that need to be vented.
Not to be forgotten In the episode are the other great storylines. Jerry is dating a two-face, someone who looks completely different in different lighting conditions, Kramer is ending a twelve year strike from a bagel restaurant and George is handing out donation cards to his fake charity, the Human Fund.
THE OFFICE | The Christmas Party episode from season two
I think everyone who has worked in any sort of professional office setting can relate to the Office in some capacity. The Christmas party episode truly captures the joy and excitement of more office parties, especially when you have a boss who is desperately trying to be the coolest and most liked boss ever. This episode shows that the office Christmas party is the best place to show how great of a boss you really are. The episode comes in right from the pre-credits scene of Michael Scott and Dwight Schrute trying to get a massive tree into the office. Fans also get a "that's what she said" when Kevin asks Michael why did you get it so big as well as what happens when a disappointing secret Santa gets turned into a gift exchange because of one hot present that everyone wants.
Here is an extremely vague tie in to photography for the article, Michael Scott walks around with a digital camera trying to capture out of control moments, promising the craziest photo to be placed in the company newsletter.
So there is my little list of movies that are a terrific break during the Christmas season for me. Let us know what your go to Christmas movie is in the comments below.
Merry Christmas everyone!